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DOJ Stop-and-Frisk filing

DOJ Stop-and-Frisk filing

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Published by Philip Bump
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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Philip Bump on Jun 13, 2013
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07/17/2013

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTSOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK-------------------------------------------------------xDAVID FLOYD,
et al.
, 08 Civ. 1034 (SAS)Plaintiffsv. STATEMENT OFINTEREST OF THETHE CITY OF NEW YORK,
et al.
, UNITED STATESDefendants.-------------------------------------------------------xSTATEMENT OF INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES
This litigation presents two questions of critical public importance: whether the stop-and-frisk practices of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) violate the Fourth or Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and, if so, what remedial measures areneeded to bring NYPD’s conduct into constitutional compliance. The United States takes no position on the fact-dependent first question of whether NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices violateconstitutional standards such that Plaintiffs should prevail on the merits of their claims. TheUnited States files this Statement of Interest only in order to assist the Court on the issue of remedy, and only should it find that NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices are unlawful. Given thatthe Court has consolidated the liability and remedy phases of this litigation and has requested simultaneous post-trial briefing on both issues, the United States files this Statement of Intereston the subject of remedy at this time even though liability remains undetermined.
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In light of the fact that this Statement of Interest is limited to a narrow remedies issue, the United Stateswould have preferred to file this brief if, and only if, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have met their burden to establishliability. However, because the Court has denied Plaintiffs’ requests to bifurcate the liability and remedy phases of these proceedings,
see
Jan. 4, 2013 Tr. at 76-77, 84-85, and has requested post-trial briefing from the parties on allissues by June 12, 2013,
see
May 20, 2013 Tr. at 8101, the United States makes this filing at this time. On the issueof remedies, the United States has reviewed the parties' March and April 2013 filings, among other trial documents.
The United 
Case 1:08-cv-01034-SAS-HBP Document 365 Filed 06/12/13 Page 1 of 21
 
2States requests that the Court provide the parties an opportunity to respond to the limited issuesraised by this Statement of Interest on an appropriate schedule as determined by the Court.It is the position of the United States that, should the Court find that NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices are unlawful, the Court has wide discretion to enter injunctive relief aimed at bringing any practices it finds to be unlawful into compliance with the Constitution and other laws. The injunctive relief may include the appointment of an independent monitor for thelimited purpose of assisting the Court and the parties to ensure that any remedy related to anyadverse findings regarding stop-and-frisk practices is implemented.The United States has authority to file this Statement of Interest pursuant to 28 U.S.C.§ 517, which permits the Attorney General to attend to the interests of the United States in anycase pending in federal court. The United States has a broad interest in ensuring that identified unconstitutional police conduct is adequately remedied given that it is responsible for enforcingseveral federal civil rights statutes that prohibit law enforcement agencies from depriving persons of their rights under the Constitution and other laws. The United States enforces the police misconduct provision of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994,42 U.S.C. § 14141, which authorizes the Attorney General to file lawsuits seeking court orders toreform police departments engaging in a pattern or practice of violating citizens’ federal rights.The United States also enforces the anti-discrimination provisions of the Omnibus Crime Controland Safe Streets Act of 1968, 42 U.S.C. § 3789d, and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,42 U.S.C. § 2000d, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, or nationalorigin by police departments receiving federal funds. Pursuant to these statutes, the United States has worked to remedy violations of the Constitution and other federal laws and to achieve
After conferring with counsel of record for NYPD and the City of New York on June 12, the Department of Justiceunderstands that NYPD and the City maintain the position consistent with their earlier filing.
 
Case 1:08-cv-01034-SAS-HBP Document 365 Filed 06/12/13 Page 2 of 21
 
3sustainable reform in numerous law enforcement agencies around the country.
See, e.g.
,
United States v. Puerto Rico
, 12-cv-2039 (D.P.R. filed Dec. 21, 2012);
United States v. Town of East  Haven,
12-cv-1652 (D. Conn. filed Nov. 20, 2012);
United States v. City of Seattle
, 12-cv-1282(W.D. Wash. filed July 27, 2012);
United States v. City of New Orleans
, 12-cv-1924 (E.D. La.filed July 24, 2012);
United States v. Territory of the Virgin Islands
, 08-cv-158 (D.V.I. filed Dec.23, 2008);
United States v. City of Detroit 
, 03-72258 (E.D. Mich. filed June 12, 2003);
United States v. City of Los Angeles
, 00-cv-11769 (C.D. Cal. filed Nov. 3, 2000);
United States v. Cityof Pittsburgh
, 97-cv-354 (W.D. Pa. filed Feb. 26, 1997).The United States’ strong interest in ensuring constitutional policing would be directlyand substantially implicated should the Court find that NYPD stops and searches individuals in amanner that violates the Fourth or Fourteenth Amendments. The Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures and the Fourteenth Amendment’sguarantee of equal protection of the laws are bedrock constitutional rights that safeguard individuals from unlawful police conduct. Virtually every police investigation conducted by theCivil Rights Division of the Department of Justice touches on these issues in some way, and theform of the remedies available are critical to this nationwide work. In light of the United States’clear interest in ensuring that any constitutional deficiencies the Court may find are adequatelyremedied, the United States files this Statement of Interest on the availability and appropriatescope of injunctive relief.
BACKGROUND
Plaintiffs filed a complaint against the City of New York in January 2008, challenging NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.
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This is not the first case to challenge the constitutionality of NYPD’s stop-and frisk conduct. In 1999, a putative class of plaintiffs filed a complaint against the City of New York, similarly alleging that NYPD’s practices
See
Complaint
Case 1:08-cv-01034-SAS-HBP Document 365 Filed 06/12/13 Page 3 of 21

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